This week on DVD/Blu-ray: A warmhearted comic yarn from acclaimed Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki; a harrowing rock documentary that world premiered at SXSW; the latest from filmmaker/actor Mario Van Peebles; a History Channel mini-series on America's most famous feud; and an indie high-concept horror film sure to make your palms sweat.
#1. "Le Havre" (The Criterion Collection)
A standout at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Aki Kaurismaki's political fairy tale "Le Havre" centers on the bond between a young African refugee and a kindly old bohemian who shines shoes for a living in the French harbor city of the title. When the city officials call for the boy's deportation, the man does everything in his power with the help of his tight-knit community to keep the boy put.
"With its bouncy soundtrack, deadpan humor and good-natured disposition, Kaurismaki's "Le Havre" is an endearing affair," wrote Eric Kohn in his review out of Cannes. "Combining his clownish storytelling with a life-affirming plot, Kaurismaki churns a fundamental scenario through his own unique narrative tendencies, yielding a product both heartwarming and irreverent, two qualities that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his distinctive touch. Beyond that, it also introduces an element of political commentary to the director's work that deepens its impact."
Extras: New interview with actor André Wilms; footage from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, including a press conference and a French television interview with cast and crew; Finnish television interview with actress Kati Outinen from 2011; concert footage of Little Bob, the musician featured in the film; trailer; plus a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sicinski and a 2011 conversation between Kaurismäki and film historian Peter von Bagh.
#2. "Last Days Here"
"Last Days Here," a documentary directed by Don Argott and Demina Fenton that world premiered at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival, documents the life of heavy metal legend Bobby Liebling and features the music of his band, Pentagram. Over the course of the film, Liebling, with the help of friend/fan/manager Sean "Pellet" Pelletier, tries to pull himself out of his parents' basement despite decades of drug addiction and trouble. It’s the unbelievable true story about a man at the crossroads of life and death.
Go HERE to watch a scene from the film, exclusive to Indiewire.